Someone You Should Know: Missouri 500 Survivor

This month marks the 10-year anniversary of the Missouri 500, the largest dogfighting bust ever in the U.S. 26 people were arrested and 500 dogs were seized. 7 of those dogs were brought to Sioux Falls by volunteers. Fast forward to today and one of those dogs is still living here.

The Sioux Empire Pit Rescue was created in the wake of the “Missouri 500” dogfighting bust 10 years ago.

“During that process, they realized that there was a need for this. It brought awareness to the dogs, it brought awareness to the dogfighting and so when they brought those 7 dogs back, that was the pivotal moment of why we started,” says rescue volunteer Melissa Jungemann.

The rescue finds homes and families for pit bull breeds. Guinness, who is now 13, is a survivor of the Missouri 500 dogfighting ring. He was used as a bait dog and his story represents the best and the worst of humankind.

His owner, Biz Word said, “He was emotionally shut down he stayed in his kennel. He would creep out and lurk they’d say, watching them walk away so it was obvious that there was something there, there was a spark.”

Guinness was adopted, but after five years, he found himself homeless again and in the rescue program. Word agreed to foster him and eventually she gave him a forever home, but the move wasn’t entirely easy.

“He shut down again and I saw a lot of the residual effects that he had gone through previously which was just scared of people but he loves dogs which is the irony in that,” says Word.

What’s left from the days of his abuse are scars, some visible and some not. Words said, “I meet him where he’s at. If he’s uncomfortable in something we don’t have to do that right now. And like a lot of introverts which is what I consider him to be, some days are better than others. Some days he’s braver than others.”

Despite his rough past, Guinness loves cuddling and chasing butterflies. There’s a lesson we can all learn from his story.

“He’s a great example of forgiving and moving past things and if he can do that why can’t we all try to be better…He’s come from something awful and turned it into he’s just my family dog.”

If you’re interested in adoption, the Sioux Empire Pit Rescue has a few events coming up in the next couple of weeks. You can find out more details on their website here.


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